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The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle: Marriage, Murder, and Madness in the Family of Jonathan Edwards (North American Religions) Hardcover – October 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: North American Religions
  • Hardcover: 251 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (October 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814723721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814723722
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Long before there was Lizzie Borden, there were ax murders, insanity, and torn families in New England. No one has tackled the issues of domestic violence, divorce, murder, and madness in colonial New England in the masterly way that Chamberlain does in this historical detective story. The saga of Elizabeth Tuttle and her extended family sheds a light on the sometimes unpleasant realities of a romanticized past. At every turn, the author grounds the individual tragedies of Elizabeth and her families in the rich context of early modern Anglo-American society, drawing meaning from individual events. Anyone interested in seriously confronting the true past behind Elizabeth's grandson Jonathan Edwards, America's most influential religious figure, must come to grips with this revealing study." -Kenneth P. Minkema,Executive Editor, Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University

"With indefatigable thoroughness, lucid prose, and a clear eye for interpersonal dynamics embedded in court records, Ava Chamberlain has left no stone unturned in describing the tragic aspect of the Edwards family's history. Students of colonial New England will find this deep investigation into the life and legacy of Elizabeth Tuttle nothing less than enthralling." -Amanda Porterfield,Florida State University

"Ava Chamberlain has constructed an amazing little book using shards, simple ingenuity, and adroitly focused scholarship upending a 300 year old myth about Elizabeth Tuttle, the allegedly crazed, sex-starved, divorced grandmother of the great eighteenth-century Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards.  Chamberlain recovers a woman who exemplified the tragedy of a failed marriage in a society that, disastrously for Tuttle, saw poisonous accusation as the only way to explain common human foibles.  That Tuttle's painful saga opened the way for the careers of both Jonathan Edwards and his father Timothy is only one of the ironies exposed by Chamberlain's ingenious book."
-Jon Butler,Yale University

"Recovering a lost chapter of early American intellectual and religious history, Chamberlain reveals not a harridan but a woman whose life was ruined by wrong choices and inconsolable griefs."-Publishers Weekly,

"Chamberlain (religion, Wright State Univ.), an expert on religion in Colonial America, beautifully displays her expertise in this microhistory about Puritan goodwife Elizabeth Tuttle, the paternal grandmother of theologian Jonathan Edwards...Chamberlain paints a more human and sympathetic portrait. She condenses an immense amount of information into a relatively short book, with extensive notes showcasing the depth of research. The lack of a written record by Tuttle herself is a drawback, but Chamberlain uses the many other primary sources surrounding Tuttle’s life to flesh out the narrative. This is a lovely book that will appeal to all readers intrigued by American history, women’s history, gender studies, or religious studies."-Library Journal,

About the Author

Ava Chamberlain is Associate Professor of Religion at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She is the editor of The “Miscellanies,” Nos. 501-832, vol. 18 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Connelly on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Tuttle's tragic life embarrassed both her husband and her son. Her husband wanted a second marriage to younger, politically connected wife. Her clergyman son wanted respectability. Together, they erased nearly every trace of Elizabeth Tuttle's life.

Ava Chamberlain took the fragments of her story, and researched the lives of the intertwined Edwards and Tuttle families. The results are a fascinating story of people leading complicated, conflicted lives in puritan New England. Ava Chamberlain's skill as a historian and as a storyteller make Elizabeth Tuttle's centuries long silence more eloquent than her famous grandson's sermons.

Anyone who loves American literature or American history will be drawn to this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glenda Browne & Jon Jermey on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book really interesting. I am descended from a sibling of Elizabeth, so it has special family interest for me. The author brought the times alive. A side interest is the exploration of the ways different writers (biographers of Jonathan Edwards) emphasised, omitted, or were wrong about Elizabeth's life. The organisation and indexing of documents helped bring the truth to light. It is primarily an academic book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fred Hobson on June 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great job of research and terrific job of depicting seventeenth century Puritan life. And Elizabeth Tuttle, in her way, is a remarkable figure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stella Mather on April 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The famous "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Minister Jonathan Edwards had a mad grandmother, a fratricidal Uncle and an Aunt who killed her teenage son. But there is more to the story than the strain of violence and depression, there is a portrait of "self-made" American men who easily blamed the victims and moved on to prosperity once the inconvenient women were left behind.

From early English settlers in Hartford and New Haven to budding American revolutionaries at Princeton University and Litchfield, CT, including Edwards' infamous descendant Aaron Burr, Ava Chamberlain has uncovered a complicated American past.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I have been researching into my family history and was shocked to discover during my research that my 8 times great grandmother was this same woman. Our family discovered in the last twenty or so years have been looking into my biological great grandfather's family, and thanks to ancestry.com, discovered that Rev. Jonathan Edwards sister Elizabeth married into our family.

It is fascinating to learn more about my family, no matter what is learned.
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